Doctor folding his arms posing for a photograph in surgical equipment

Spine Surgery: FAQs

Spinal surgery is a surgical procedure performed to treat health conditions that affect the area of the spine, which includes bones, nerves and other soft tissues. Spinal surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis or as an inpatient at a hospital or surgical center. 


The type of surgery you need depends on your condition and may include fusion procedures, decompression procedures or spinal injections. 


Spine surgery may also refer to non-surgical spinal manipulation techniques used to treat back pain caused by mechanical factors such as arthritis or disc degeneration.

What is spine surgery?

Spine surgery is a procedure that treats problems in the spine. The spine is the part of your body that protects and supports the spinal cord, which carries messages between your brain and other parts of your body. The spine includes vertebrae, discs and nerves.


The goal of most spinal surgeries is to relieve pain caused by injury or disease by removing damaged tissue or replacing it with an artificial device such as bone grafts or metal rods inserted into disks to stabilize them until they heal themselves naturally over time.


Read here to see if spine surgery really works.

Man moving boxes hunched over holding his back in pain

Why would you need spine surgery?

Spine surgery is performed to treat a variety of conditions, including back pain, neck pain, and sciatica. It can also be used to treat spinal deformities such as scoliosis.


If you’re considering spine surgery for yourself or someone you love and have questions about what it involves–or if you simply want more information on the procedure itself–read on!

What are the common types of spine surgeries?

There are many common types of spine surgeries. The most common is a discectomy, which is when a surgeon removes a portion of the herniated disc that is putting pressure on a spinal nerve root. 


Another common type of surgery is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, which involves removing the disc that’s putting pressure on a nerve root and then replacing it with bone graft from another part of the patient’s own body to stabilize the vertebrae in place.


Another type of spine surgery is a posterior lumbar fusion. This procedure involves removing the damaged disc and vertebrae, stabilizing them with rods or screws, and fusing them together so that they can’t move anymore. 


Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is similar to posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), except it doesn’t require removing any bone from your hip or pelvis; instead, it involves taking bone from another part of the body or using bone grafts from donated cadavers (called allografts) to fill in any gaps created by removing damaged discs or vertebrae or by putting two or more vertebrae together after they’ve already fused together due to degenerative arthritis.

A nurse writing on a note pad with a pen and paper

How is a patient evaluated before having spine surgery?

Before you have spine surgery, a number of tests will be performed to ensure that you are healthy enough for the procedure. 


This can include:

  • A review of your medical history
  • A physical exam, which may include blood tests and nerve tests (also known as electromyography) to check for nerve damage or other issues that might prevent surgery from being safe or successful.

What are the risks of spinal surgeries?

Spinal surgeries are very safe, but they do carry some risks. They are usually performed under general anesthesia, so the patient is asleep during the procedure and will not remember anything about it. 


The most common risk after a spinal surgery is that the patient might develop a blood clot in the neck area. This can be prevented by taking blood thinners before the surgery and by wearing compression garments after the surgery to help keep the blood moving through your body. 


If this happens, you will be given medication to dissolve the clot so it can get out of your body naturally.

How is spine surgery performed?

Spine surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The patient is placed on an operating table, and the surgeon makes an incision in the back of your neck or lower back to access your spine. 


Improperly placed incisions can result in increased pain or stiffness, so doctors take great care to ensure that they create only as much damage as absolutely necessary for successful treatment.


Once inside your body, surgeons remove damaged discs and replace them with bone grafts (bone removed from another part of your body) or artificial discs made from metal alloys such as cobalt chrome alloy (Corail).

What is the recovery process like after a spinal procedure?

Spinal surgery is a major procedure that requires careful planning and preparation. Depending on the nature of your surgery, you may be able to go home the same day or spend several days in our care. 


Our staff will provide round-the-clock care from nurses and doctors who are always available to answer questions or address any concerns that arise during your stay.


We understand that you may have many questions about recovery after spinal surgery, so we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you get ready for this big step in your journey towards better health.

In conclusion.

If you’re considering surgery for your spine, it’s important to understand all the risks and benefits of the procedure. Spine surgery can be a life-changing experience, but it also comes with a lot of uncertainty. 


We hope these FAQs have helped answer some of your questions about what happens before, during and after this type of procedure. If not, please contact us so we can help!